Showing posts with label video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights

The US Campaign held its 13th Annual National Organizers' Conference, The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, September 19-21 in San Diego.

Below is the recording of our closing panel The Continuing Struggle for Palestinian RightsPanelists shared their thoughts about moving forward following this year that has brought both so many important BDS wins but also yet another Israeli war on Gaza.


  • Christian Ramirez, Human Rights Director at Alliance San Diego
  • Reem Assil, Arab Resource & Organizing Center
  • Robin D.G. Kelley, serves on the Advisory Board of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel 
  • Hind Awwad, former coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee
  • Moderator: Dina Omar, founding member of National Students for Justice in Palestine 

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

The Battle for Justice in Palestine

The US Campaign held its 13th Annual National Organizers' Conference, The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, September 19-21 in San Diego.

Below is the recording for our Saturday evening session featuring Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, and Tariq and Suha Abu Khdeir. Tariq’s beating by Israeli police while visiting family in Jerusalem made headlines back in July.

Exposing the 1% & State of Israel’s Agenda to Silence Criticism of Israel & Promote Anti-Muslim and Anti-Arab Racism

The US Campaign held its 13th Annual National Organizers' Conference, The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, September 19-21 in San Diego.

Below is the recording for the workshop Exposing the 1% & State of Israel’s Agenda to Silence Criticism of Israel & Promote Anti-Muslim and Anti-Arab Racism: Organizing Against Backlash in ways that Strengthen Our Movement, Broaden Joint Struggle and Weaken Our Opposition.

Carrying Out Effective BDS Actions

The US Campaign held its 13th Annual National Organizers' Conference, The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, September 19-21 in San Diego.

Below is the recording for the Carrying Out Effective BDS Actions workshop. Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaigns are not just about winning or losing- but also about the process that shifts the conversation to complicity in specific rights abuses and Israel’s system of occupation and apartheid on the ground. What are the elements of an effective campaign (research, successful partnerships, publicity/media)? How can you carry out effective BDS actions in your community? How do you mobilize your supporters and break out to those beyond the choir? These and other questions were addressed.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Mainstreaming BDS & Connecting Struggles

The US Campaign held its 13th Annual National Organizers' Conference, The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, September 19-21 in San Diego.

Below is the recording for the Mainstreaming BDS & Connecting Struggles panel. Earlier this year, the Israeli company Elbit Systems won a $145 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security contract to provide surveillance technology along the U.S.-Mexico border, just the latest example of the militarization of immigration “reform” that has included the deportation of more than 2 million people under President Obama. Elbit produces the drones used by Israel and provides “intrusion detection systems” for the Apartheid Wall. G4S, the private British security company that helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held and many times tortured, is notorious for operating private prisons where people are abused and providing deportation services worldwide. The killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO has highlighted the epidemic of police brutality and militarization against African-American communities in the United States and the similar tactics used to justify such violence, including the dehumanization of victims and corporate media distortions of reality. It has also been noted that a member of the St. Louis County Police Department that killed Brown had trained in Israel in the past. This panel highlighted opportunities for joint struggle and the importance of connecting our work for Palestinian rights with other movements for justice.

  • Amal Ali, former president of UC-Riverside Students for Justice in Palestine 
  • Kristian Davis Bailey, journalist and former president of Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine 
  • Suhad Khatib, Saint Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
  • Gabriel Schivone, youth organizer with UNIDOS indigenous-based ethnic studies group in Tucson, AZ
  • Moderator: Shirien Damra, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation 

Confronting Challenges to Palestine Activism

The US Campaign held its 13th Annual National Organizers' Conference, The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, September 19-21 in San Diego.

Below is the recording for our opening panel, Confronting Challenges to Palestine Activism, which highlighted the challenges facing advocates for Palestinian rights, including legal challenges to boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns and attempts at silencing critique of Israel. Over the past few months, there have been attempts to pass anti-BDS legislation both at the state level and in Congress, an increased number of attacks against BDS advocates by pro-Israel groups, and a number of cases of Palestinian scholars and activists facing repression, such as the U.S. government’s persecution of Rasmea Odeh and University of Illinois’ firing of Steven Salaita. The panelists reflected on these challenges to Palestine activism and how those working for Palestinian rights can fight back.

  • Rabab Abdulhadi, Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative, San Francisco State University
  • Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild
  • Curtis Marez, president of American Studies Association
  • Moderator: Rahim Kurwa, Students for Justice in Palestine- UCLA

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kittens Against Apartheid

Two cuddly kittens go searching for the right hummus and learn a valuable lesson about human rights! Join the kittens in supporting justice in Israel-Palestine! Boycott Sabra and Tribe hummus! From our member group Philly BDS.

You too can support justice in Israel-Palestine. Get involved in a BDS campaign, sign this letter supporting the divestment recommendation of the Presbyterian Committee on Mission Responsibility through Investment and join us for our National Organizers' Conference September 21-23 at St. Louis University. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Take Action on Valentine's Day: No LOVE in Occupation!

Below are three simple actions to take part in today's Valentine's Day Stolen Beauty Campaign Day of Action, courtesy of CodePink, a US Campaign member group... the queens of creative tactics and online activism!

Take action today, Valentine's Day, to ask Bed, Bath & Beyond to stop breaking Palestinian hearts. The big box retailer carries Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream products. Both Ahava and SodaStream are subject to international boycott campaigns because their production facilities are based in illegal West Bank settlements and because of other illicit practices.

1. Go to the Bed, Bath & Beyond web site and leave a customer comment. You can write your own comment, or cut and paste this one:
I notice that you sell Ahava and SodaStream. Both products are made in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Ahava is made with mud pillaged from the occupied shores of the Dead Sea. Both products are subject to international boycott campaigns due to their illicit practices. This Valentine's Day, have a heart and please stand for human rights and international law. Stop selling Ahava and SodaStream. Occupation profiteering is ugly. 

2. Join our Valentine's Day Twitter campaign to tell @bedbathbeyond to stop selling Ahava and SodaStream. Here are some sample tweets!:
#Valentine's Day wish: @bedbathbeyond will drop settlement products #Ahava & #SodaStream. #BDS @stopsodastream

Valentine's Day: Tell @BedBathBeyond to drop #Ahava & #SodaStream Occupation is ugly. #BDS @boycottahava
More sample tweets & details on the one-day twitter-a-thon can be found here.

3. Watch and share the Brides Boycott Ahava and SodaStream video, which has over 56,000 hits on YouTube.

Last month Ahava suffered a bad press bonanza as prominent U.K. scientists, filmmakers and academics penned a letter calling on London's Natural History Museum to halt its nanotechnology research collaboration with the illegal settlement profiteer. The letter received prominent coverage in major newspapers and science journals, dragging Ahava's name yet again through its own stolen mud.

SodaStream recently announced they would be opening a new factory in the Negev, but that they will keep open their plant in the settlement of Mishor Adumim. The new plant is a needed expansion of capacity because of increased sales, but it is also a public relations ploy allowing them to say that some of their products are made within Israel. We need to keep the pressure on so that they see the benefit of shutting down the Mishor Adumim plant.
Ahava products are manufactured in settlements
on stolen Palestinian land
Thanks for taking action to support human rights and international law on this Valentine's Day!

For more information and ideas for taking action, click here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gingrich's Extremist Anti-Palestinian Stance Follows Millions From Top Donor Sheldon Adelson
January 27, 2012

As Newt Gingrich catapults to the forefront of the GOP race, many are questioning how exactly his resurgence occurred. Many analysts have noted that his meteoric rise would have been impossible without the backing of one man: multi-billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Adelson and his wife have donated $10 million to the pro-Gingrich super PAC. Gingrich has admitted Adelson's support came down to a single issue: Israel. Unsurprisingly, Newt's platform on the issue is one of the most reactionary within the GOP field. For more we speak with Linda Sansour of the Arab American Association of New York as well as Gal Beckerman of the Jewish Daily Forward.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Israel/Palestine as a 21st Century "Lawfare" Laboratory

Below, hear Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology at UCSB, speak in Washington, DC, about her new paper that brings together the two concepts of "lawfare" -- Israel's litigation of warmaking practices -- and targeted killing, which Israel interprets as supported within its international legal rights and duties as occupier of Palestinian territory. Hajjar's presentation is followed by two other panelists named below.

In early December, the Institute for Palestine Studies was privileged to host the third Mansour Armaly panel on Palestine at the annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) held in Washington, DC. This year's panel was entitled "The "Humanitarian" Present in Israel/Palestine: Forensic Architecture, Estrangement, and Lawfare." It addressed the intersection of conflict, space and law in the politics of humanitarianism and war:

"Israel/Palestine as a 21st Century Lawfare Laboratory" 
Lisa Hajjar, professor, University of California, Santa Barbara.

"Forensic Architecture and the Politics of War Crime Investigation"
Eyal Weizman, professor, Goldsmiths College (UK)

"Spectres of Estrangement: the ‘ungovernable’ camp & the figure of the ‘irreconcilable’ refugee" 
Nasser Abourahme, graduate student, Columbia University.

The presentations can be viewed on this video player (if you cannot view the player, click on the links above to view on YouTube).


The Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) is the only institute in the world exclusively devoted to research, analysis, and publication on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israeli conflict. IPS was established in Beirut in 1963 and also has offices in Washington D.C., an affiliate in Ramallah, and a small office in Paris.

What a Year Stretches Before Us!

Dear Supporters,

Above: Co-chairs Felicia Eaves & Peter Miller.

New shifts in U.S. public discourse mean more pressure on candidates challenging conventional military and political support for Israel, growing B.D.S. campaigns on campuses and in communities across the country, mainstream churches challenging corporations that profit from occupation... and the US Campaign with our nearly 400 member organizations will be at the center of all the work that comes with it.

Thanks to all of you, the Campaign is beginning 2012 stronger and better resourced than ever before. More than 600 donors last year helped to replant 2,050 olive trees in Palestine, supporting fair-trade farmers. Just in the holiday period of last December alone, together we raised $43,500 in online contributions, helping the US Campaign begin the new year ready for action.

Thanks for everything you're doing. For your work in your campuses, communities, faith congregations, as well as in Congress and in the media, to end US military aid to Israel. For your creativity in building BDS campaigns. For bringing the cost of Israeli occupation to the Occupy Movement that has so empowered all of us. For linking economic injustice and the unmet needs in our communities these ten years to the $30 billion in military aid to Israel.

The US Campaign is made up of--and supported by--people like you, and member groups like yours. Together we are moving into a new year of action, mobilization, and education.  Huge challenges lie ahead. But because of all you’ve done, we start the year with the excitement, the energy, and the resources to challenge U.S. support for Israel's occupation and apartheid policy, and to demand a new U.S. policy based on human rights, international law and equality for all.

Thanks again.  And we look forward to working together in 2012!

Felicia Eaves & Peter Miller

Co-chairs, US Campaign Steering Committee

Click to watch our new 8-minute documentary!

P.S.: Witness how this nationwide grassroots coalition has struggled against U.S. support for Israel's occupation over the past decade! Our new mini-documentary combines an audiovisual sampling of major events with a narrative of our coalition's growth, voiced by members of our staff and Steering Committee. Take eight minutes to watch the quest progressing, and join us to help complete it!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingrich’s Campaign Resurgence Funded by Secretive Coterie of Super PACs, Wealthy Israel Backers

The following is an excerpt of today's newscast from While you're here, check out one of our Steering Committee members' analyses about Newt Gingrich earlier this week, plus this post from one of our member groups about Gingrich's "invented Palestinians" claim.

As Newt Gingrich's poll numbers surge and plummet with the predictability of the Dow Jones, some are making the connection between the two figures as genuine reflections of investor confidence. Several recent exposes reveal how Gingrich has skirted campaign finance rules to raise millions of dollars in unlimited donations from billionaire backers and big industry, with his ability to attract capital showing signs of abiding. But just who are those donors and what do they stand to gain from Gingrich?

Greg Gordon, an investigative reporter for McClatchy Newspapers who has been following the Gingrich campaign's finances, discussed one of Gingrich's latest beacons of support: Sheldon Adelson. "Sheldon
Adelson is a rabidly pro-Israel donor and he operates two of the most elite casinos in Las Vegas: The Pallazzo and the Venetian. And he is also listed by Forbes as the 16th wealthiest person on the planet. Mr.
Adelson is a huge backer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he in fact publishes a free newspaper that circulates in Israel that basically is an extra voice to boost the Israeli Prime Minister.

... Perhaps it is no surprise, after all these donations from Adelson--totaling 7.65 million--that Gingrich has recently...talked about the Palestinian people as an 'invented people,' and he talked about moving the [US] embassy on his first day in office...from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be an extremely provocative move to make in the Middle East," Gordon said. "According to Politico...[Adelson] is planning to put $20 million into these Super PACs that support Newt Gingrich."

Peter Stone, of the Center for Public Integrity, echoed Gordon's findings on Adelson and the Gingrich campaign. According to one of his reports, a close friend of Adelson's confirmed that he would "do whatever it costs to help Gingrich."


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flash Mob Tells Bed Bath & Beyond: "Stop Selling Illegal Israeli Settlement Products!"

The three groups involved in this action -- CODEPINK, 14 Friends of Palestine, and Keep Hope Alive -- are all coalition members of the US Campaign, which offers its exclusive flash mob resources here.

Brides, Professional Choir and Minister Flash Mob at Bed Bath & Beyond with Message:
"Stop Selling Illegal Israeli Settlement Products!"

Action in Solidarity with Global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

[LARKSPUR]: On Saturday, December 10, International Human Rights Day, a flash mob took over the wedding registry section of the Bed Bath & Beyond in Larkspur.  The flash mob consisted of a mock wedding in which four brides committed to boycott illegal Israeli settlement products, namely Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream home carbonation systems, and local Reverend Dr. Walt Davis pronounced the brides "married to a life of peace and justice."  The Justice Voices choir sung a parody of "Ode to Joy" that asked Bed Bath & Beyond to deshelve these products.  Store employees asked the flash mobbers to leave the store and called the police.  No arrests were made.  Caroling continued outside the store where the group received positive feedback from holiday shoppers.

“We hope Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares hears our plea and stops selling products that are in clear violation of international law,” said Rae Abileah, flash mob "bride" and co-director of CODEPINK.  “Consumers have a right to know the ugly truth behind Ahava beauty products: they’re stealing Palestinian land! SodaStream is marketed as an environmentally responsible product, but the destruction of life, land and peace brought about by this settlement industrial zone is anything but environmentally responsible. Save a few plastic bottles at the expense of trashing Palestinian land and people?  We don’t think so.”

Ahava and SodaStream products are fraudulently labeled as “Made in Israel”, but are in fact produced in illegal settlements under the conditions of the military occupation in the West Bank, outside the internationally-recognized borders of Israel.  Ahava cosmetics are manufactured in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Ahava’s fraudulent labeling is under investigation in the UK and in The Netherlands. The Stolen Beauty Boycott and international boycott pressure have successfully pressured many stores to drop Ahava.  Stores that have pulled Ahava from their shelves include Canada’s major department store The Bay, UK retailer John Lewis, the National Cathedral in DC, the U.N. commissary in Vienna, and many more.

A recent report by the Israeli research project Who Profits from the Occupation describes SodaStream’s illegal settlement activities, exposes its fraudulent labeling practices and investigates its exploitative labor practices.  SodaStream is another occupation profiteer located the illegal industrial zone called Mishor Adumim, one of the largest land expropriations of Palestinian land in the West Bank, which prevents a future contiguous Palestinian state.

"This month, we mark three years since the Israel's deadly assault on Gaza that killed about 1,400 Palestinian men, women, and children. Let us all recommit ourselves to ending US financial and diplomatic support to Israel, and to supporting the inspiring, growing, global, Palestinian-led  movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Palestinians enjoy the freedom, equality, and justice that they deserve,” said Anna Baltzer, flash mob "bride" and national organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.  

“I invited the CODEPINK women to Marin so that we could do a boycott action at our local Bed, Bath, and Beyond,” said Jane Jewell, founder of 14 Friends of Palestine and Justice Voices. “BDS is one of the most important non-violent activities we can do to oppose the cruel Israeli Occupation of Palestine that causes such terrible suffering to the Palestinian people. I consider it the duty of those of us who enjoy a life of freedom and privilege to help those who do not. If I lived under horrendous oppression like the Palestinians do, I would like to think that somewhere in the world there were people looking out for me. "

The action was coordinated by 14 Friends of Palestine, CODEPINK Women for Peace, and Keep Hope Alive.

More information on both campaigns is available at and

Friday, December 16, 2011

Israel Bonds Lawsuit to Continue Despite Governor's Refusal to Divest

US Campaign coalition member group Minnesota Break the Bonds (MN BBC) today distributed the media release below about its lawsuit to get the state to divest from Israel Bonds.

First, here's a TV news clip from November 29, when WCCO Channel 4 News in Minneapolis interviewed activists with MN BBC on the day their lawsuit was announced. The original article can be viewed here.

Israel Bonds Lawsuit to Continue Despite Governor's Refusal to Divest


December 16, 2011


[St. Paul] Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign (MN BBC), a statewide campaign aimed at stopping Minnesota investment in Israel’s human rights and international law violations, has officially filed its lawsuit against the Minnesota State Board of Investment. This filing comes after Governor Dayton rejected the Campaign’s demand that the SBI divest from in Israel Bonds.

The complaint was formally filed yesterday in the Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul, and today was assigned to Judge Margaret M. Marrinan, with case number 62-CV-11-10079.

On November 29, 2011, MN BBC, along with 26 other co-plaintiffs, including Palestinian residents of the besieged village of Bil’in in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jewish-Israeli members of the Israeli human rights advocacy group Boycott From Within, served a lawsuit against the SBI demanding that it cancel its Israel Bonds investments. The suit was not formally filed in court at that time in order to permit the SBI an opportunity to resolve MN BBC’s divestment demand without the necessity of court action.

The lawsuit claims that the Board’s investments in Israel Bonds are unlawful according to Minnesota and international law because they help fund Israel’s universally condemned illegal settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Following Governor Dayton’s rejection of the divestment demand, the Executive Committee of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), headquartered in New York, advised all four members of the SBI Board, including Governor Dayton, that the Board was aiding and abetting Israel’s violation of international law, which also violates Minnesota law. The NLG correspondence to each of the four Board members, which was delivered to them on December 13, 2011, is posted at the MN BBC website at

In deciding to proceed with the lawsuit, the plaintiffs also considered the murder by Israeli soldiers last Friday of Mustafa Tamimi, a Palestinian resident of Nebi Saleh, one of a growing number of West Bank villages besieged by Israeli settlers. Tamimi was shot point-blank in the face with a high velocity tear gas grenade. Israel buys a portion of its military equipment with the aid of Israel Bonds. MN Break the Bonds Campaign believes that Minnesota should not be investing our state's money in such atrocities.

To read the complete version of the lawsuit, go to:


Friday, December 2, 2011

New film by Palestinians living in Gaza shows yearning for a normal life

US To Gaza is a coalition member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

"Where Should the Birds Fly?" is the story of two women in Gaza - the filmmaker, Fida Qishta, and a young survivor of Operation Cast Lead, Mona al Samouni. Through their eyes, we learn how people live, survive, and dream of a normal life, while facing Israeli attacks.

We are more than halfway to the finish line in raising the money we need to complete "Where Should the Birds Fly?".  Please donate generously and email your friends and lists and urge them to support this project.  You can see a short trailer of the film and make a tax deductible contribution at

It is the first film about Gaza made by Palestinians living in Gaza. It is the story of two young women, survivors of Israel's Operation Cast Lead,  who represent the spirit and future of Palestinians. It is a visual documentation of the Goldstone report. Not all misery and rubble, it reveals strength and hope.

We held a small screening of the film in NYC last week and got a warm, positive reception to the film.  Those watching found it very powerful and moving, as well as a very timely statement in light of Israel's current threats to attack Gaza again.  We must get this film into distribution as soon as possible.

One comment, from an organizer of the US Boat to Gaza, seemed particularly appropriate.  "Our campaign focused a bright spotlight on Israel's illegal occupation of Gaza, but we weren't able to bring our passengers to port in Gaza City.  This film brings the people of Gaza to us and to the rest of the world."

How true.  The film itself breaks Israel's blockade of the hopes and dreams of Palestinians to lead a normal life.  

Supporting "Where Should the Birds Fly?" would be a great gift to a friend.  If you would like to receive one of the premiums offered to supporters in time to give it as a holiday gift, make that request by clicking Contact at the bottom of the kickstarter page and let us know that.  (Otherwise the premiums will be sent out sometime in January.)

Thanks for your support and please pass this on to your friends.

Fida Qishta
Brian Drolet
Felice Gelman

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Take Action on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Above: Activists in Sacramento show solidarity with the Palestinian Freedom Riders.

Above: Click to watch Peter Miller, US Campaign Steering Committee Co-chair, address the U.N. General Assembly this morning (skip to 1 hour and 17 minutes after start).

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer

In 1976, in commemoration of what is now 63 years of Palestinian dispossession and exile, the United Nations declared November 29 to be the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This year, Peter Miller, president of Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights and co-chair of the US Campaign's Steering Committee, addressed the U.N. General Assembly. Peter's speech, which took place this morning at the U.N, can be viewed and read here (the speech begins at one hour and 17 minutes into the recording).

Today the Palestinian people's resilience and struggle for freedom continue. Bedouin families of Al-Arakib in the Negev Desert have rebuilt their homes more than 20 times to maintain their presence there. Villagers of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank continue to nonviolently protest settler and army violence and land confiscation, remaining steadfast in the face of the army's intimidation tactics and extreme brutality. Children in Gaza whose schools have been bombed attend makeshift classrooms, persisting to get an education. Survivors of the Nakba, the catastrophe of Palestinian dispossession in the 1947-48 war, continue to preserve and pass down their testimonies and the keys to their homes, refusing to forget or to give up their internationally recognized right to return to the homes and lands from which they were expelled.

Also today, Minnesota citizens from the exciting Minnesota Break the Bonds campaign gathered at the State Attorney General's office to serve a lawsuit on the state's Board of Investment, demanding that it divest from Israel Bonds, based on moral, ethical and legal grounds. 

MN BBC is asking for your support! Sign this letter telling members of the Minnesota State Board of Investments to stop investing in Israeli apartheid!

These are only two of the many actions by US Campaign member groups over the past two weeks. On November 15, activists in 15 cities across the United States organized actions and educational events in solidarity with the Palestinian Freedom Riders, who challenged the Jim Crow-style segregation inherent in the Israeli occupation. You can find an exciting play-by-play chronology of the Freedom Riders' actions at The Struggle, and a summary of the day's events--in the West Bank and the U.S.--here at Jewish Voice for Peace, a US Campaign member organization.

Above: Click to watch LA activists educate passengers on a Veolia bus as part of a campaign to end the city's Veolia contracts.

Here is just a small sampling of U.S. actions supporting the Palestinian Freedom Riders as part of the growing worldwide campaign to challenge Veolia, a French multinational corporation that profits from the Israeli occupation by operating buses on Israeli-only roads, among other things:

In Los Angeles, activists demonstrated and boarded buses run by Veolia to educate passengers about Israel's apartheid policies as part of a campaign targeting Veolia contracts with the city.

Boston activists launched a campaign challenging the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail Company's contract with Veolia by distributing fliers to educate and mobilize Boston residents.

In Baltimore, activists demonstrated at Penn Station during rush hour, singing a freedom song and drawing connections between the Palestinian and American struggles for equality and human rights, linking Veolia's profiteering from racism and exploitation in Israel/Palestine to the City of Baltimore's unequal government contracts.

There were also more actions in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento, Chico, Oakland, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.! Check out the photos on Mondoweiss and Flickr, and watch Jewish Voice for Peace's round-up video here.

Above: Click to watch video by Sana Kassem.

Palestinian filmmaker Sana Kassem put together this excellent video drawing parallels between the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and the struggle of the Palestinian Freedom Riders.

Our National Advocacy Director, Josh Ruebner, published this article in Counterpunch supporting the Freedom Riders—just one of dozens of articles published recently worldwide.

Last Saturday, activists in 10 European countries staged more than 60 actions as part of a Day of Action calling on supermarkets and governments to "Take Apartheid off the Menu."

Today, on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, let us celebrate Palestinian steadfastness and renew our commitment to ending U.S. complicity with Israeli occupation and apartheid as part of a growing, exciting, global movement for freedom, justice, and equality.

US Campaign Co-chair addresses U.N. General Assembly

This morning Peter Miller, Co-chair of the US Campaign's Steering Committee, gave the following address at the United Nations General Assembly, at the invitation of the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Solemn Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People

United Nations 
New York
November 29, 2011

Remarks by Peter Miller 
President, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights
Co-Chair, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, Excellencies:

I am honored to speak to you today on this solemn commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I am but one voice among many from global civil society who are deeply concerned about the plight of Palestinians resulting from Israel's policies of occupation, settlement, siege and the denial of Palestinian rights. Many civil society activists around the world have dedicated their lives seeking a just resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. Some have paid a huge price for their efforts. And why must civil society pay such a high price? It is because of the failure, your excellencies, of the United Nations and governments to implement international law.

As an American, I am deeply disturbed, as are many Americans, by the role the my government plays in preventing Palestinians from achieving their aspirations and their human rights. The U.S. unconditionally gives Israel $3 billion every year in military aid and ignores Israel's many systematic and continuing human rights violations. Those include the illegal use of military weapons against civilian populations and the ever  expanding Israeli settlements, the expansion of its separation wall on Palestinian lands, the treatment of its Palestinian citizens as second class human beings and the denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees. One of the challenges to the UN and the international community, if you truly are committed to upholding the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, is to confront the deeply negative role of the U.S. in perpetuating injustice and enabling Israel to continue to violate international law and destroy the possibility of realizing Palestinian aspirations.

The admission of Palestine into the UN Organization UNESCO is a great victory for the UN and the voice of people around the world. 107 countries, representing over 75% of the world's population voted to include Palestine, truly “We the Peoples of the United Nations.” Unfortunately, the Obama administration was eager to enforce archaic U.S. laws, and cut off U.S. dues to UNESCO. Also unfortunate is the fact that the Obama, and earlier U.S. administrations, have failed to uphold other U.S. laws conditioning military aid to countries, such as Israel, which use U.S. supplied weapons against civilian populations. The UN is challenged to uphold its Charter in the face of all the various anti-democratic pressures the US brings to bear, whether it is spying on UN officials, pressuring independent countries economically and politically, or threatening the UN itself with economic sanctions. The UN must defend its founding principles despite these pressures and the global community must be ready to increase economic and diplomatic support for the UN and UNESCO.

One of the great advancements of civilization has been the development of the concept of the rule of law, that human beings have universal rights, and that there should be international institutions that work to safeguard these rights, especially in times of conflict and military occupation. The principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and other laws lay out this framework. The challenge for the UN is not to develop new laws or to express new sentiments, but to implement these existing universal principles and its existing resolutions to protect Palestinian human rights. The whole concept of universal rights and protection of civilians is endangered when powerful nations can pick and chose, in defiance of international bodies and global opinion, to whom these laws apply and for whom they are ignored. The law should be universal.

So far, the UN and other established institutions have failed to implement these universal principles, and have been unable to hold the powerful accountable for their oppression of the weak. So it has become necessary for global civil society to step into the void. This is what is happening around the world, including in the United States, on behalf of Palestinian human rights. This is why there is a growing movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions to bring non-violent pressure on the State of Israel to end its systematic violations.

The Russell Tribunal is yet another expression of global civil society responding to the failure of the UN and governments to uphold the law. One of Bertrand Russell's last accomplishments was the establishment, with French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, of the Russell Tribunal to investigate the role of the United States in the war in Vietnam. The tribunal was established as a means for civil society to bring to the light the evidence of war crimes ignored by the United States government and by other nations and international institutions. Russell declared “May this Tribunal prevent the crime of silence.”

A new Russell Tribunal on Palestine has been reconvened with three sessions to date to examine Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. The most recent session was held November of this year in South Africa, with judges including Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, emeritus judge of Spain’s Supreme Court José Antonio Martin Pallin, African-American poet Alice Walker and South African writer and activist Ronald Kasrils.  They examined the question of whether Israel is engaged in the crime of Apartheid. Israeli human rights activist Jeff Halper, director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions said,

“States, along with the United Nations, are obligated to enforce international law and human rights conventions. When they don't, as in their failure to apply to Israel and its Occupation the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the people themselves must rise up and demand that they do. Civil society forums such as the Russell Tribunal may not carry formal authority, but they represent millions of people the world over who believe that simply leaving governments free to pursue their narrow agendas driven by power, sectarian ideology, militarism and the profits of a few is to doom us all to continued war, bloodshed and injustice.”

The Tribunal concluded that Israel does indeed engage in the crime of Apartheid:

"Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalized regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law.... The Palestinians living under colonial military rule in the occupied Palestinian territory are subject to a particularly aggravated form of apartheid. Palestinian citizens of Israel, while entitled to vote, are not part of the Jewish nation as defined by Israeli law and are therefore excluded from the benefits of Jewish nationality and subject to systematic discrimination across the broad spectrum of recognized human rights. Irrespective of such differences, the Tribunal concludes that Israel's rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid."

The Russell Tribunal is not the first time Israeli apartheid has been identified. In 1961 Hendrik Verwoerd, then president of South Africa and considered the architect of the system of apartheid, stated, “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” Both Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela have expressed concerns that Israel's behavior was similar to what they experienced under South African apartheid. Mandela remarked that:

“The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

In 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa issued a report concluding that Israel practices both Apartheid and colonialism. In 2010, Henry Siegman, former national director of the American Jewish Congress said, "Israel has crossed the threshold from 'the only democracy in the Middle East' to the only apartheid regime in the Western world."  Now in 2011, we can add the conclusions of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Palestinian rights must no longer be held hostage to the domestic politics of the United States. Israel should not escape UN censure simply because it refuses to cooperate with international institutions. International law demands condemnation of Israel's violations and crucially, Your Excellencies, decisive action to reverse them. Palestinian dignity is assaulted on a daily basis. Both the Palestinian and Israeli people are diminished each passing day as you allow these Israeli policies to continue. Every day, a tree is destroyed or a home is demolished. Every day, a Bedouin village inside Israel is ground down by bulldozers or Palestinians in the West Bank are attacked by settler pogroms that turn their lives into lives of fear.  Every day, critical medicines go lacking in Gaza, and Gazans are forced to drink brackish water unfit for human consumption.

The so-called “Quartet” has failed.  But while many question whether the UN should have ever agreed to participate in such sham diplomacy, you can still play a constructive role by moving quickly to implement the necessary pre-conditions for serious and honest negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on the enforcement of international law. Excellencies, you must separate Israel’s legitimate security concerns from its illegitimate political agenda. The International Court of Justice ruling on the illegality of Israel's wall made just this sort of distinction: determining that Israel may build its wall on Israeli land, but Israel cannot build its wall on Palestinian land, destroying Palestinian farms and homes, and separating Palestinian villages and towns from each other. It is illegal, not simply “unhelpful,” for Israel to build settlements on Palestinian lands. Israel violates international law when it imposes collective punishment on the people of Gaza. UN-based solutions must be found to mitigate all of these issues.  The international community must demand that Israel end its assaults on Gaza that kill and injure civilians, and destroy civilian infrastructure in an endless cycle of  international development assistance repeatedly destroyed by Israel's U.S. supplied bombs and missiles and Israel's U.S. supplied Caterpillar bulldozers. All that is lacking is your will to impose solutions rooted in international law.

One of the great privileges of working within civil society for Palestinian justice is witnessing the coming together of people from many origins working together for justice. In my own small group, we have Jewish Americans, Palestinian Americans, Christians, Muslims, and secular people who recognize in each other our common humanity. This is replicated around the world. We in global civil society seek to rise above narrow national and tribal self interest and truly believe that peace is possible when our common humanity is recognized and justice is implemented. We honor the efforts of those Israelis who recognize that peace for Israel comes through justice for Palestinians, we honor the efforts of activists and UN workers from around the world, many who have risked their comfort and sometimes their lives in the name of justice. Though there are wide ranges of opinion about what the various solutions might be, we are united in the recognition of our common humanity and our dreams of living together, as equals, on this small blue planet.

Thank you.

-- END --

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Protest Video and Petitions Delivered! Thousands tell National Building Museum: No Award to Caterpillar Inc.!

US Campaign member group, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, along with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace, CODEPINK, and the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, celebrated a victory earlier this month when the National Building Museum announced its cancellation of the ceremony to award Caterpillar, Inc. with an award for "innovation in building technology" and "exceptional leadership," following a campaign which gathered more than 7,000 signatures. However, the National Building Museum did not rescind the award itself, prompting protesters to demonstrate outside the museum when Cindy and Craig Corrie delivered the petition, as described below in an account from the Rachel Corrie Foundation... Make sure to check out the video!

Earlier this month we convinced the National Building Museum (NBM) in Washington DC to cancel its September 14th public ceremony to award its prestigious Henry C. Turner Prize to Caterpillar Inc. Then last week, acting on behalf of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, we and representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (a coalition of more than 350 organizations) held a protest outside the F Street museum entrance. We sang, chanted, flyered, and chatted with the public. We then entered the Museum's lofty Great Hall to deliver the call from 150 regional, national, and international organizations and more than 7000 individuals to rescind the prize to Caterpillar Inc. completely. 
Petition Delivery and Action at the National Building Museum
Petition Delivery and Action at the National Building Museum
Video courtesy of Bill Simonds, JVP - DC Metro Chapter  
We met with Museum Development Events Manager Jessie Cochran. She promised to deliver our petitions to the Museum's Executive Director, Chase Rynd, along with our requests to consider the human rights records of future award candidates and to use the museum's public forums to discuss the built environment during conflict and occupation.

...This small but public victory is just one indicator of how together we are bringing Palestinian human rights front and center and making a difference. Once again, we have exposed the complicity of Caterpillar Inc. in the ongoing violations of these rights by the Israeli military and government in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. 

Continue reading here...

Click here to find out more about the BDS Campaign against Caterpillar.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

FLASH MOB: Mock Wedding Promotes Ahava & Soda Stream Boycott at Bed, Bath, & Beyond!

Activists from CODEPINK (US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation coalition member group) recently staged a mock wedding at Bed, Bath, & Beyond in Los Angeles.

Four CODEPINK women dressed in brides dresses strolled through the store and mall answered the reverend's big question:

"Do you promise to tell your fellow brides to not register with Bed, Bath & Beyond until it stops stocking illegal Israeli settlement products Ahava and SodaStream?"...

"Do you promise to honor and obey international law?"...

"Do you promise to cherish the right of Palestinians to use their own natural resources?"

etc... to which the brides answered a resounding,

"WE DO!"

Watch the wonderful video below. CODEPINK invites others to "Become a BDS Bride!"

Find the video, script, fliers, and more by clicking here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

CODEPINK Tells Rep Berman it's time to Free Palestine!